Off the coast of Somalia, a lifeboat is adrift. On board are four pirates, armed with assault rifles and their hostage, Captain Richard Phillips. Also nearby is the USS Bainbridge and overhead is a Pentagon surveillance drone, feeding the U.S. Navy images of the lifeboat. Tonight we have new insight on what it's like on that 28-foot long lifeboat. It's not pretty.
"There's no toilet... or anything like that," said Capt. Joseph Murphy, the father of first officer of the Maersk Alabama which was hijacked yesterday off the Horn of Africa. The boat is covered and Murphy suspects the pirates have closed the ports. "It's probably 100 degrees in there, no air flow," Murphy added. They have about a 10 day supply of food and water.
Capt. Phillips has a radio on the lifeboat and today he contacted the U.S. Navy and the crew of the Alabama to tell them he's not hurt. His family is reporting he offered himself to the pirates in exchange for the freedom of his crew.
The crew of the Alabama is now headed for their original destination – Mombasa, Kenya, to deliver food aid. But they now reportedly have an armed security details on board.
Tonight, we'll answer the question many of you have been asking: Why isn't the crew of the Alabama armed for these types of situations? Joe Johns has the answer.
And, we'll also look at why these pirates turn to this way of life. It all comes down to money. Last year, pirates got up to $80 million in ransom money, according to the London-based think-tank Chatam House. Years ago, the pirates' lives depended on fishing. Now they're earning more money on the high-seas brandishing automatic weapons and threatening lives. Somalia, after all, is a lawless country with no central government and ties to al Qaeda.
Should the U.S. take tougher action against these pirates?
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